If you feel you’re losing your ability to focus on a long book while confined indoors and surrounded by digital screens (as staying up-to-date on a global pandemic seems to command), try turning to poetry to nurse your shrinking attention span back to life.
Emily Dickinson’s many short but perceptive poems showcase her unique view of the physical world, distilling its details into spiritual themes and universally acknowledged truths. Yrsa Daley-Ward’s debut poetry collection, titled bone, conveys the difficulty and tenderness of reflecting on one’s own, sometimes painful, relationships with others.
The former U.S. poet laureate Billy Collins favors the subjectivity of poetry, which allows him to shape-shift reality and create imaginative escapes. Lewis Carroll’s “Jabberwocky” leans in to the flexibility of language, unraveling the past usage of words and phrases to create a resonant story from apparent nonsense. W. S. Merwin’s poems never quite reach a clean resolution, reveling instead in the journey from stanza to stanza.
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The poet of premature endings
“Sometimes, the sense of loss Merwin writes of doesn’t come from death, but simply from standing still in a moving world.”